Namco Bandai: BottleRocket firing a 'performance issue'

COO of publisher's North American operations defends decision to remove Splatterhouse dev from project.

In February, Namco Bandai abruptly revealed that it had removed independent California studio BottleRocket Entertainment from development on Splatterhouse. That Namco Bandai's statement erred toward cordial, the move caught many by surprise, considering that the gory beat-'em-up was said to have been on track to wrap by March.

This week, Namco Bandai further expounded on its decision to remove BottleRocket from the project, saying the move was the result of performance issues. "So, basically, the only reason why publishers pull the project out from the developer is when the developer isn't really meeting the requirements," Namco Bandai of America COO Makoto Iwai told Gamasutra. "So, unfortunately, this was the case."

"I have to be very careful so we don't make any direct comment on it because whatever we say, people will try to be on the developer side," he continued. "You know, 'The developer is an independent developer trying hard, and evil publishers are trying to get rid of the business by doing whatever they feel like.' That's not the case. I just want to be 100 percent clear. There was a performance issue."

Iwai offered no further comment on the situation and did not address speculation that the game's development had been shifted to Namco Bandai's internal studio responsible for Afro Samurai. The title had previously been expected to arrive sometime in 2009.

BottleRocket Entertainment had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.

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Discussion

24 comments
GeminiEntity
GeminiEntity

Seems this was a good and honest decision after all, the quality of the game is already better than before. While the game may not be superb, it's better than it was before without a doubt in more ways than one. Just thought I would note that, considering all the "conspiracy theories" going around.

msudude211
msudude211

At least they didn't release a sub-par game.

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

I guess I'll just find a copy off Ebay for my T-16, then I'll still get to play it until then.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Performance issue? The game was almost done! And why is it that developers half the time don't seem to have control over the games they're creating? If I were part of a developing team, I wouldn't even bother working on anything if stuff like this were going to happen on a regular basis. So lame.

johnrkinsey1
johnrkinsey1

A publisher concerned about the quality of a game???? What a concept!!!

KingOfOldSkool
KingOfOldSkool

I don't know.. the whole "performance" thing can be looked at in many different ways. In my opinion.. Namco went to a smaller independent publisher for an IP like Splatterhouse to get a cheap and quick game out on the market to help profits, but something is telling me that Namco's patience got the best of them and pulled the plug on Bottlerocket for possibly not getting it out fast enough. Basically, it might be less of a "quality" problem than a schedule problem. How else can Namco's sudden change in mentality towards supposedly seeming like they actually give a crap about game quality be explained unless this is all really just about a prolonged development cycle threatening profit margins?

yboucher
yboucher

Wow, love his honesty ! He is absolutely right...

DrKill09
DrKill09

I love the Splatterhouse games, and had hope for this, but after the firing it just keeps looking worse and worse for this game.

Misfit119
Misfit119

I wonder about those rumors that Namco was looking to pillage people who were working on Splatterhouse at BottleRocket. If that's the case then it isn't a single whit about quality, it's all about saving money by pillaging a small developer. There's a reason we take the developers side most of the time - the bigger companies are jerks pretty often. Seeing some of the crap that Namco-Bandai has pulled it's easy to see how someone would think that way here.

Erebus
Erebus

Considering Bandai's quality is generally through the floor, one can only imagine the atrocity that was shaping up to be a Splatterhouse remake.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

@world69star69 You should also note that the first splatter house was made when Bandai and Namco were separate companys. I believe it was Namco that made the first three Splatter house games. Splatter house was a revolutionary game 1)One of the first games to have objects from background move into foreground (early version of 3-D graphics) 2)One of the first horror games and to use buckets of blood 3)One of the first games to have a warning on it before the ESRB made them mandatory.

BtmnHatesRbn
BtmnHatesRbn

Does Namco itself not know how to make a game anymore, and had to outsource a series to somebody else to make, only to see that group not care enough about the legacy of the product to make something decent?

BloodMist
BloodMist

In other words, the game was sucking hard monkey balls.I could tell you from what i saw and heard of it that that is indeed the case.

world69star69
world69star69

This sucks....no Splatterhouse? To the people who have never heard of Splatterhouse, let an older gamer like myself fill you in. Splatterhouse first came out on a great old console called the turbo-grafix-16 back in the 16bit era cira 1989... (was originally a NAmco Bandai Arcade game in 1988) it had a hocky mask wearing protagonist who beat creatures up with fists 2x4's, chainsaws and more, everything splattered blood and ichor when hit, and bashed, it was the most gorry beat em up of it's era. It went on to have 2 more seqeuls on the Sega Genesis. Here is a link to a clip from the first splatterhouse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju5vMUW9K6E

SonicX_89
SonicX_89

What the hell is Splatterhouse!?

taylormadederek
taylormadederek

Crap game either way. I probably wouldn't get it for $10. Why bother making crap.

Koi-Neon-X
Koi-Neon-X

Namco Bandai was responsible for Afro Samurai?! *ugh* please make better games! as far as Splatterhouse I am in no rush to play that.

Roger_Smith
Roger_Smith

I think Namco Bandai themselves are having some performance issues. Ever since the merger, wasn't as glorious as I thought it would be.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

I barrack this game too, waiting for BottleRocket's comment.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Performance issues... should have tried to pad the stats a little better guys...

MirageX13
MirageX13

If BottleRocket couldn't meet certain expectations (like making a game that's fun), then Namco made a great decision to shift studios. And in an economy like this, it's good to see a publisher delaying a title to focus on quality instead of rushing it out the door so their quaterly financial report looks good. And on top of that, Splatterhouse was one of my favorite franchises when I was a kid, so I really want this one to turn out well!

halomonkey1_3_5
halomonkey1_3_5

this really sucks...especially because the BottleRocket team team seemed psyched to be working it...and if the game was going to be released this year how is the internal team going to do better?